Andela, the San Francisco-based company that develops African software engineers, has announced that it is retrenching hundreds of junior software developers across various countries in which it has operations in. Specifically, Andela has that 250 junior software engineers and staff in its Nigeria and Uganda offices and training facilities will be laid off while another 170 will be retrenched in Kenya.

The company that has over the years raised well over $100 million from various investors has said that part of the reason for the lay-offs is that they want to “more closely align with global market demand."

“As the talent world has evolved, we have as well, and over the past few years it’s become increasingly clear that the world needs what Andela provides: high-quality engineering-as-a-service. It has also become clear, however, that the majority of the demand is for more experienced talent, and to keep up with it, we need to grow our senior talent base even faster. This shift in demand also means that we now have more junior talent than we are able to place. This is a challenge for the business, and for these junior engineers who want, and deserve, authentic work experiences that we are not able to provide," said Jeremy Johnson, CEO and Co-founder of Andela.

Overestimated the market

To date, Andela has raised well over $100 million in venture capital funding. The company also counts among its investors the successful tennis player, Serena Williams, who invested in Andela through her venture capital company, Serena Ventures. As such, the hundreds of lay-offs affecting junior developers at Andela can definitely not be attributed to a lack of funds but possibly overestimating the demand for junior developers.

Andela has said that it will be working with all teh impacted and potentially impacted employees and is "committed to providing a holistic professional and financial support package."

"Our immediate priority is to ensure that our colleagues who are affected by this change are well supported to succeed in their next career moves. We are in talks with tech leaders across Africa, who have been very supportive in exploring opportunities for these talented Andelans. We are also focusing our attention on providing adequate support for the rest of Andela during this period, as we continue to build a world-class engineering organization," said Seni Sulyman, VP of Global Operations at Andela.

In addition, the company is partnering with CcHUB (Nigeria), iHub (Kenya), and Innovation Village (Uganda) to help connect impacted developers with opportunities in their local ecosystems. Together, they have identified over 60 companies who are looking to hire top quality junior engineering talent. These hubs will also offer impacted engineers the opportunity to use their co-working spaces free of charge for the next three months.

Training developers

Perhaps more telling is that Andela has also added that, apart from the junior developer lay-offs, it will also be closing its D0 training program in Nigeria, Kenya, and Uganda. As a result, the company adds that it will from now onwards only be focusing D0 training efforts in Rwanda.

An alternative view, as opposed to Andela overestimating the size of potential clients, could be that it overestimated its ability to produce senior and high quality software developers who were ready to be absorbed by various corporate clients onto various projects. This is somewhat hinted to by Johnson who said that they will, going forward, be looking to hire an additional 700 experienced engineers by the end of 2020.

“Five years ago, we launched Andela to solve a global challenge: Brilliance is evenly distributed, but opportunity is not. To succeed in our long-term mission, we have to make tough decisions to continue growing a company that we know will change the way the world thinks about talent,"concluded Johnson.

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